Warm kitchen, sweet friends

When I first moved into this drafty old house, I had not discovered baking yet. We have since replaced the windows, insulated, and installed new heating. We ran out of funds around the kitchen, which is still unheated.

I have since learned that the purpose of baking is to warm the house. That warmth is both literal and emotional. A kitchen that is carrying pies and cookies and breads and winter squash, sweet and salty, steaming up the windows is full like pregnant, full like family, reminds us of touch and the lasting heart.

We made cookies with our friends Alyx and Julie last night, gift bags for the thousand and one families we work with every day (Alyx is also a therapist). Sugar cookies, ginger snaps, chewy pumpkin cookies, raspberry bars, chocolate chip. Number shaped cookies for the autistic kids, jam tarts for the elders, striped and sprinkled and wrapped in tissue paper on little plates for everyone. Spent the evening in their warm kitchen on the east side of the crispy cold mountain. Ate the butternut soup and drank the red wine. Dogs milling at our feet, looking for buttery fallout, hoping we might be making salmon cookies or pig ear tartlets just for them.

By the end of the evening we are all sticky. We hug and wave goodbye with finger tips dyed red and green, powdered sugar on our bellies, driving home past the lights in the quiet city, just about midnight. We are sleepy, the car smells of kitchen, our dogs greet us at the door, saying “hey, what about us?!!” with reproachful faces. Which makes me want to do it all again, this weekend, for them and for my rattletrap old oven, which is always open, always ready to warm us and wrap us in winter light.

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One Response to “Warm kitchen, sweet friends”

  1. This gave me chills, but it also warmed my heart. Your writing is lovely.

    Thanks, Brian. I love that the cold winter nights make our friends and good fortune seem so bright and warm by comparison.

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